Summers named state environmental secretary

Appointment praised by bay foundation, chamber of commerce

April 28, 2011|By a Sun staff reporter

Gov. Martin O'Malley today announced the appointment of Robert M. Summers as the state's Secretary of the Environment — a move praised by both the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

Summers, who has worked at the department since its creation in 1987, has been acting secretary since December; before that, he was deputy secretary for about three years.

"With his highly-regarded expertise, straightforward approach to finding workable solutions, and passion for clean water, clean air and a healthy environment, we are confident that his continued leadership will serve the people of our State well as we work to protect our environmental priorities." O'Malley said in a statement.

In the statement, Summers said he was "committed to application of the best science, the best service using e-commerce, predictability and transparency in permitting, and encouraging innovative technologies to protect public health and the environment."

"We have an enormous opportunity to foster innovation and create jobs with the Bay and environmental restoration, just like we are doing with climate change and renewable energy," he said in the statement.

In his time at the department, Summers has mainly been involved in water pollution control, drinking water protection and environmental regulation, according to the statement.

"Dr. Summers' history of dedication to the Chesapeake Bay and the State of Maryland, as well as his professional background and personal skills, will make him a valuable member of Governor O'Malley's cabinet as Maryland moves forward in its ongoing role as a leader on environmental matters," Kim Coble, Maryland Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said in the statement.

Kathleen T. Snyder, president of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, said Summers "has also shown the ability to balance numerous competing interests and broad-reaching requirements -- such an approach ensures environmental protection with consideration to impacts on all sectors."

Summers received his B.A. and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University.

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